When dealing with others who are toxic

Do not expect to receive something from someone who doesn’t have what you want.

This quote has been running through my mind all day today.  The things you have to tell yourself after dealing with a particularly toxic member of my family.  I’m hoping that by writing about this, I can get to feeling better about things.  But even I recognize that journaling can only do so much.

I’m faced with kicking my baby brother out of my house.  I’m not looking forward to it, and honestly – it makes me feel like one big giant asshole.  But I cannot do it anymore.  At first, I thought that maybe staying here would be good for him, but the longer this goes on, the less respect I have for him.  It’s time for him to go. He’s barely contributed towards anything, and comes home drunk or highly drugged at all hours of the night, often waking the household.  He leaves food out, and has set off fire alarms, and last night – well – this morning actually… he came home with a completely totalled car.  He’s already had a DUI and I’ve witnessed him coming home from driving completely plastered now a couple of times.  What kind of example are my children getting from all of this?  I told him he couldn’t stay.  That I’ve had enough and that I was calling Dad.  Dad needed to know that his youngest son was doing this, that the car he was still paying for was totalled.  Yea – i know – I totally ratted out of my brother which in most cases, would not be cool.  This feels a bit more life and death tho.

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I was scared to call my Dad.  I knew the messenger would be shot at.  I didn’t expect it to go the way it did.  I didn’t expect to feel whooshed back to the days when I faced that same kind of verbal treatment daily.  I didn’t expect to feel a moment of fight or flight… on the PHONE.  I hung up.  I walked for a few minutes.  And then suddenly I had things I wanted to SAY!  That’s not like me.  My flight instinct is strong with my family – I clam up, go quiet and get the heck out of there. Today – I stood up for myself.  Don’t talk to me like that.  Don’t treat me like this.  I have done nothing to earn this behavior being slung at me in it’s vileness.  It felt good.  It also backfired on me.  Managed to get me in bigger trouble – but whatever.  I don’t really care.  You want to tell me know that i’m not your daughter?  Cuz you’ve said it to me plenty of times in the past.  I don’t care.

This is when the quote runs through my head the most.  My father is simply not capable of giving me the kind of father/daughter relationship that I need.. why?  Because he does not possess the skills to do so.  Never has.  Most likely – never will.  So why do I continue to hope beyond hope that someday something will blossom and we’ll have a closer bond or kind-ship? That’s insanity on my part!

Dad asked me to take in my baby brother, and I did.  And I can honestly say, I’ve given him just over a month here, I’ve really TRIED.  But I can’t work with someone who doesn’t see that what they’re doing is self-destructive.  I can’t help someone who has no desire to help themselves.  And now – all it’s doing is dragging down my family’s ability to live successfully.

I’ve always done the right thing.  I’ve always been the good daughter.  I’ve always strived to do what was asked of me, what was expected of me. But now – I want to show my children that they don’t have to have toxic people in their lives.  I want the people I surround myself with to be people who actually care about me.  People who will put their all into building something healthy and amazing with me – because I’ll happily put in the effort to do the same with them.

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After all the drama – I took a moment to plant some flowers outside.  It made me feel instantly better. I then spent the day with my kids.  We played some Wii sports, and walked to the park.  Enjoyed each other and did what we could to make each other laugh.  I’m grateful for them.  My children.  I’m so lucky to have them in my life.  I swear on the very last breath I take – that I will NEVER give to them, the kind of heartache and pain that my father has given me.  I refuse.  They deserve so much better than that.

Well, I better get some sleep.  Goodnight Neverland.  Happy Sunday to you!

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When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

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My brother is staying with me for a month.  It’s fun to see him every day.  We didn’t grow up together, and only met when he was 10.  So we’re still getting to know one another.  He’s a punk, but I love him.  My kid brother.  But one of the challenging things I’m learning about having him here, is that it exposes me to some of my family that I’d rather not be exposed to.  Thru him, I get to see and experience what he goes through with my father.  Usually – it doesn’t get to me, but last night, he shared an experience he had this weekend and I just about lost my shit.  I’m still upset.  But I think what upsets me the most, is that, at least for the next month, it will be a “norm” in the house.  It bothers me.

My father is … well… abusive.  Physically sometimes, emotionally others.  And not all the time…. but still.  A spade is a spade.  It takes a lot to write that.  It took me a while to get my brother to even admit it out loud.  Now look – there’s something to be said for getting physical – sometimes a well timed shove can wake someone up – That is not the type of physical altercation that I am talking about here.  There is no excuse that I can logically come up with to make it ok.  I know that man loves his kids… in his own truly messed up way, but he is toxic.  It’s why I’ve put up walls and boundaries – to keep me and the kids safe and worry-free.

So here I sit.  Knowing that over the next month or so, I’ll likely be (at the very least) hearing more stories, learning more things, and overall, likely cementing why I made the choices I’ve made to step away from toxic people in my life.  I try and remember that there are two sides to every story… and somewhere in between lies the truth.  But so far, the stories I hear align with everything I know from my past… and I’m not convinced that leopards change their spots.  When someone shows you who you are, believe them.

It’s sadly, nice to know that I’m not the only one of us kids who struggled with Dad.  But at the same time, I wish with all my heart that I could take that away from him – let him be spared.  I’m protective.  I don’t want to see my family hurt.  I’d do just about anything to keep them all safe and loved.  Ugh.  It’s rough being a sister sometimes.  But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Much love neverland.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Sometimes, weird evenings are the best

I typically write my blog post before I write a title for it.  I often wonder if other bloggers do this too, but perhaps the way I write is unusual.  For me, it’s journal-style.  Where I can easily spill my thoughts, as fragmented as they sometimes are, onto a page and then go back and make sense of them.  Group them, and fix any errors, and then come up with a title.  I’m sure I have quite a few drafts of posts that I never finished… untitled… just sitting there waiting to be completed – and yet – I never come back to them. Each blog post is fresh.  Why can I not just delete them?  I guess there are just some thoughts I don’t want to finish.

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I’m having a weird evening.  I finished tidying up the living room and locking up the house, was heading to take a shower.  Then I figured I’d do a little writing.  Went to grab my laptop, got distracted by a messy kitchen, tidied it a little bit and here I am… finally writing, with no shower.  Time has completely escaped me this evening because when I look at the clock – it’s getting late.  Can I just say – sometimes, as a single mom, it’s hard to keep up.  I don’t feel good – I think I’ve got a kidney stone.  I’ve had them before.  You range from uncomfortable to downright misery for a few days and then everything returns to normal.  Well – at least, in my case.  But because I’m uncomfortable, it’s making me a little slower, with a lot less energy.  I’m looking around my messy house – God, I need a maid. And a vacation.

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It’s R’s last week with us here, and we spent some time chatting this evening.  I will miss our chats.  We’ve learned how to communicate with each other – which means we can communicate about just about anything without upsetting or offending the other person.  We’ve had some very interesting conversations about things like racism, religion, the after life, as well as things like the perfect burger or what we’d do if a zombie walked randomly down the street.  She made me promise I’d call her.  DUH woman! 🙂  But I think we’re both kind of feeling a weird sadness over the incoming goodbye.

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Well – it’s now an hour later than when I started this… and I still need to shower and prep for my early morning.  But I couldn’t help myself… I just had to say that I’m so grateful for my life – my crazy world and everyone I surround myself with.  My village of friends and family.  The people I love.  It was thoughts, many inspired by them – that I write in this blog.  Much love to you neverland.  Goodnight.

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Just a little update on my lunch break

It’s my first day back at work after having a lovely holiday vacation.  It was challenging to get up early this morning – serves me right for not at least trying to stick to my normal schedule.  But ultimately, it feels good to be back to work, and so far, today I’ve been very productive.  It’s nice to know I only have a few more hours left of my day.

Did you all have a nice holiday?  Honestly – I think I can say that this has been the best holiday I’ve had in a long time.  It was spent relaxing and doing the things that I wanted to do.  I visited my grandparents and hung out with friends.  I stayed up late watching comedy and binge watched a few new shows.  Christmas morning, we had our annual nerf and silly string battle.  It was pretty epic this year, as I managed to secure an entire case of silly string.  What a giant mess THAT made – but was soo worth it! 🙂

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I’ve been dating someone.  I know – shock!! We’ve been seeing each other since October and over the holidays – we officially became a couple.  I’m so happy and content right now.  I’m not typically the type of girl to sit and gush about someone – especially in a public forum – but I honestly cannot help myself.  Meeting him, falling for him, loving him… it was all unexpected.  I was perfectly happy and content being single and staying that way.  Who knew?!

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This man makes me light up.  I’m confident and comfortable when I’m with him.  Yea – I’ve had a few moments of anxiety pop up – but what’s interesting to me is that even when they do – I can usually spot them for what they are.  Old habits that are hard to kill off.  Old insecurities that have no relevance with him.  So it’s been fairly easy to squash those icky worries when they pop up.  He’s met all my close friends.  And shockingly – even my brother likes him!! That has NEVER happened before, in ANY of my relationships.  So I’ll call that a huge win.  At some point, I’ll introduce him to the rest of my family – although I’m in no rush there.

It was my children who ended up showing me just how different this one is.  In the past – they were kind of indifferent to anyone I dated.  In some cases, that was simply because they didn’t get to know whomever I was seeing (hey – a mom has to protect her babies!).  With my ex… they got to know him.  And although they liked him well enough – they never built much of a relationship with him.  With this man… it’s been different.  They got to meet him fairly early on, and he’s done an amazing job of making them feel included and special.  My son bragged about how he had a youtube watching snuggle and napping buddy to my step dad over the holidays.  Melted my heart to hear how much of an impact was already being had on my son – and scared the crap out of me all at the same time.  It’s one thing to risk my own heart – it’s another ball of wax to watch my kids open their hearts to someone, knowing they could get hurt too.  But I have high hopes.  I’m fairly certain this man understands that they are my world and that I would do anything to keep them safe and happy.

I’m enjoying the happy coasting stage… where life is just simple bliss.  Where there is comfort in knowing that I’m in love with someone who’s perfectly happy falling in love with me right back.  And even if this is all I get… and things don’t turn into something more… I’m grateful for all these feelings and all this joy.  I needed it.  More than I knew.  It’s shown me what I was missing, it’s shown me how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve really changed from the girl I was before.  I’ve had opportunities in my life – a few times in fact – where love has stared me in the face.  In some cases, I embraced it head on – and in others, I ran with my tail between my legs.  I’ve been hurt, and I’ve (unintentionally) hurt others.  It is the nature of life in all it’s glory.  Right now – my only plan is to keep going.  To enjoy and embrace everything I can when it comes.

Love to you all!  Goodnight Neverland.

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When I’m asked about Marriage…

My brother came to visit this weekend.  It was lovely to hang out and not have anything else going on (for once).  To get to sit down, chit chat about everything and nothing, watch a flick, eat some good food… it was needed.  🙂

One of the topics that came up – quite often, actually – was marriage.  His in particular, but also the concept in general.  Would I ever get married again?  I think I’d resigned myself to stop giving advice in regards to marriage about 4-5 years ago.  I think it was the moment my second marriage ended that it dawned on me that perhaps I shouldn’t be giving out advice.  That maybe marriage wasn’t meant for me  😀  But that’s ultimately, selling myself short.

My first marriage – I was young.  I’d been with the man for 6 years and felt that I was making a sound decision.  And – in the scheme of things – had I not married him, I’d not have had my daughter.  So – I can’t say it was all bad.  And how could I have possibly known that marriage would turn the man into someone else?  We were only married for two years – so in general – I don’t typically count it for much.

My second marriage lasted 12 years.  I came into my own.  Grew up.  Really learned what it meant to become a wife… and a mother.  I was good at it.  All of it.  I packed lunches with love notes, I kept a tidy house, always had everyone’s favorite food and beverages stocked on hand… Anything that was asked of me – was handled.  I am naturally quite affectionate and always up for anything – be it adventuring somewhere, or snuggles on a couch.  I was always loyal and never strayed.  Did my best to never do anything that would disrespect myself or my relationship.  It was this relationship that taught me the true meaning behind being a partner.  What it meant to stay … even when everything tumbled around you.  Perhaps I’m an odd duck – I don’t look back at my marriage as a failure at all.  I look back and see it as a stepping stone for me becoming who I am today.  A strong, independent, caring, giving, funny woman.  Someone who always tries to see the good in others or in a situation.  And in many ways – I was always her… but time has helped me in many ways.  I’m more patient now.  I listen better.  I speak up more and try and compromise more.  I’ve also learned that all of those expectations that I had of myself in my marriage … were both not enough – and too much.  You see… I could have never known that we’d have a son.  I’d have never been able to see into the future and see how losing that son would break us all.  What’s interesting tho… we’re not broken anymore.

My ex and I manage to co-parent pretty well.  Of course there are times when we frustrate each other… but don’t we all?  That is the joy of being human.  We work together as a team to provide for our kids in the best way that we can.  And for the most part… I consider myself lucky to have him in my life.  I know that my children will never wonder, as I did, why their dad doesn’t want to be in their life.  He wants it.  He tells them regularly how much he loves them and I’m sure he wishes he had the ability to provide more.  I respect him for that.  And what’s interesting – he makes a point to let me know just how much he respects me for all that I did.  I know his fiance gets uncomfortable when she hears him say how amazing of a wife I was… I wish she understood that him sharing that doesn’t in any way undermine his love and devotion for her.  And it’s not him comparing her and I in any way.  She’s amazing – and we’re all incredibly grateful that she’s in our lives.

Would I marry again?   Yes.  And that’s a resounding YES.  But with lots of caveats and me saying “however and but”.  When it was brought up this weekend, my response was leaning more towards a NO.  It surprised my brother to hear it.  He saw me when I was married.  He knows what kind of partner I am to someone.  My NO wasn’t because I’m scared of it.  I would love to find myself in a situation in the future where I had a partner.  A true partner.  Someone to laugh with and grow old with.  To cook for and travel with.  Someone who actually understands me (as I’m not convinced either of my ex husbands ever really did).  Someone who lets me into the deeper darker regions of their heart – someone who trusts that I would never intentionally hurt them and would lay my life on the line to keep them safe and happy.  Ultimately – someone who feels as I do.  But the thing is… I’d have to be absolutely sure that they reciprocated those thoughts and feelings with me.  I’d have to feel safe again.  Safe enough to allow myself to be vulnerable again.  It’s possible… and ultimately, I know the right man is out there for me.  So who knows… maybe some day.

I think the other thing that doesn’t sit well with me – is what’s the damn rush?  LOL.  I mean – yea – i’m the girl who likes to know where she stands in a relationship.  In fact, I’d say for women like me ,it’s why we ask to put labels on our relationships to begin with – so we understand what’s expected of us.  What role are we to play in this relationship?  Once we know … we get to what I like to call “the coasting stage”.  This stage is bliss.  Where you can spend many years happily coasting along with someone.  To me – this is the zone to aim for.  If things progress from there – cool beans – but if they don’t – i’m ok with that too!  Because at that point – you’re happy in the coasting stage so it doesn’t really matter.

I really AM an odd duck.  Between my buddy M, my brother, and a few other male friends, I’ve had the privilege of seeing what it’s like to date women.  And can I just say – for the record – Women can be NUTS.  Seriously … nuts.  Yea – men can be crazy too – don’t even GET me started on some of the horrendous dates I’ve been on.  But some of the stories I’ve heard – some of the behavior I’ve witness from my fellow ladies… DAMN.  And if that’s what men have been dealing with – then I’d wager that dating me would come as a bit of a shock to the system.  As I’m VERY different.  But then again – they’d probably be more likely to assume I’m just like every other woman out there – and not likely get the chance to show them that I’m not.

So … brother dear… when I don’t give you advice on your new marriage… it’s not because I don’t care, nor is it because I lack advice to actually GIVE.  Marriages… hell – relationships are all about growth and learning.  These tests you face – are yours, and I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines – but I won’t necessarily share with you.  And who knows – maybe someday – i’ll join you in the journey again.  I’m pretty damn happy and content where things are right now, and that’s certainly enough for me.